Today's Catch

Dec 31, 2012
Credit:

©Mason Weinrich, Whale Center of New England

A right whale opens its mouth wide, revealing huge plates of baleen hanging from its upper jaw. There are between 200 and 270 baleen plates on each side of a right whale's upper jaw. They work like a giant sieve to catch the whale's food. Strong but flexible, baleen is made of the same substance as your fingernails - keratin. Discover more about this species in A Tale of A Whale , a photo essay...Read more
Dec 28, 2012
Credit:

Spencer Wright

The pinecone fish ( Monocentris japonicus ) looks like the real thing on land—covered in large scales with a dark trim. They are found lurking in caves and under ledges in the Indian and Western Pacific Oceans, and are a popular aquarium fish.Read more
Dec 26, 2012
Credit:

Flickr User Sushi_Girl1995

These candy cane snapping shrimp ( Alpheus randalli ) have a pretty nice set up. They share their living space with goby fish, helping the fish dig and maintain the burrow that they share in the seafloor. In turn the small, and mostly blind, shrimp (seen in this photo below the goby) get protection from predators in the form of alerts from the goby and a place to call home.Read more
Dec 25, 2012
Credit:

Nick Hobgood

This forest of Christmas tree worms is a group of polychaete worms that live on tropical coral reefs. See more celebratory ocean creatures in our slideshow!Read more
Dec 21, 2012
Credit:

Jerry Kirkhart

Ever heard of a cookie-cutter shark ( Isistius brasiliensis )? They look like your average shark —sort of menacing and streamlined—but their name comes from how they feed. They eat smaller animals (like squid) whole, but also take large, round cookie-cutter shaped bites out of larger animals, such as tuna, whales, dolphins, and seals (which you can see in this picture of an elephant seal). They...Read more
Dec 20, 2012
Credit:

Flickr user Laszlo Ilyes

The festive Christmas tree worm ( Spirobranchus giganteus ) lives on tropical coral reefs and resembles a fluffy fir tree adorned with ornaments. The multi-functional branch-like appendages are used by the worm to breathe and to catch meals of plankton floating by. See more holiday-themed animals !Read more
Dec 19, 2012
Credit:

Flickr User Michael Bentley

No two snowflakes are alike. Every snowflake is beautiful in its own way. But this one’s pretty creepy. The snowflake moray eel ( Echidna nebulosa ) has white, black and yellow splotches all over its body, which come together to look like snowflake designs. Moray eels eat their prey in a unique way – with two jaws. The second set of jaws is in their throat, which shoots up and grabs the prey from...Read more
Dec 18, 2012
Credit:

Copyright © 2005 MBARI

This newly-discovered carnivorous sponge ( Chondrocladia lyra ) was found using robotic submersibles operated by the Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute 10,000 feet below the surface in dark waters. It traps small crustacean prey with barbed hooks found along its branch-like limbs. Once it has caught something, the sponge covers it with a thin membrane and the digestion process begins.Read more
Dec 17, 2012
Credit:

Flickr User Len Burgess

The jingle shell ( Anomia simplex ) is a common bivalve found on the Atlantic coast of North America, amongst the more commonly known clams and oysters. As with oysters, the lower shell is glued to a hard surface. Even after the mollusk is dead, the shell keeps its beautiful and shiny exterior. The thin, translucent shells are often used in jewelry, and when strung together can sound like bells,...Read more
Dec 11, 2012
Credit:

Glen Tepke/Marine Photobank

A tufted puffin ( Fratercula cirrhata ) in flight against a gray sky in Alaska’s Pribilof Islands (USA). Puffins are charismatic seabirds that delight wildlife enthusiasts and draw tourists to the islands where they nest. Read more about these remarkable birds at the Smithsonian Arctic Studies Center .Read more

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